The 2020 NFL Draft provided us with some obvious selections and some surprises to keep us on our toes as we watched.
In the Washington Redskins’ case, it was a quiet first two days with them making no trades and having only two selections in the first three rounds. Business picked up for them on day 3 as they made six selections and finalized a trade that sent Trent Williams to San Francisco for a 3rd round pick in 2021, and a fifth round pick in 2020. Head coach Ron Rivera and Vice President of Player Development, Kyle Smith clearly had a plan regarding who and what positions they wanted to go after. One of the biggest surprises, is the Redskins did not select a tight end in any round considering they have no proven starter on the roster currently. They did, however, address other need areas as the draft went on; and got quality value for a few of their selections.
Round 1 (2)
The Redskins did the right thing in taking defensive end Chase Young from Ohio State. Chase provides an instant upgrade to the pass rush and gives the Redskins defense a much needed playmaker. Time will tell whether Chase reaches his complete potential as a professional, but the Redskins couldn’t pass on a talent this great.
Round 2 (No picks)
Round 3 (66)
In the third round, the Redskins selected WR/RB Antonio Gibson from Memphis. I had mixed emotions about this pick. Redskins WR Steven Sims Jr. somewhat fits the same mold of a player in that he can play in multiple spots on the offense. I like Gibson because he is very talented and a multifaceted contributor. However, they may have reached a bit for him considering he MAY touch the football five times a game this year. He does have the ability to return kicks so he could be used primarily in that role as well. Third round picks generally are expected to be instant contributors, so the Redskins clearly think very highly of him taking him 66th overall.
Round 4 (108/142)
With the 108th pick in this year’s draft, the Redskins selected offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles from LSU. Saahdiq Charles protected the blindside of this year’s number one overall pick, Joe Burrow as they went 15-0, and won the National Championship. Charles is expected to fill the void left by Trent Williams. This was a solid pick as Charles competed at the highest level of competition in the SEC where he faced NFL caliber opposition every week.
With the 142nd pick, the Redskins selected wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden from Liberty. Gandy-Golden is big, athletic, has a large catch radius, and can run. If you wanted to provide quarterback Dwayne Haskins with another weapon, this kid is it. Love the pick. A first round talent, but didn’t play in a NCAA power conference, so his draft stock suffered because of it.
Round 5 (156/162)
The Redskins drafted center Keith Ismael from San Diego State University with the 156th pick. Ismael can play both guard and center and will be brought in to compete at all interior offensive line positions. The Redskins currently start Chase Roullier at center, Brandon Scherff at right guard who is on a one year franchise contract, and off season free agent acquisition Wes Schweitzer is penciled in at left guard. Head coach Ron Rivera is very high on Ismael and most likely expects him to be a contributor sooner than later as indicated by his selection at this pick. He has good feet, uses his hands well, and can block effectively on the move and in space.
The Redskins took hybrid linebacker Khaleke Hudson from the University of Michigan with the 162nd pick. Hudson is what you would call “a football player”. You put this guy on the field and just say “make something happen”, and he does. Hudson can play pretty much any position on defense. He played what his college coach Jim Harbaugh calls “the Viper” position meaning he can be lined up anywhere on the field at any given time. He is like Jabrill Peppers 2.0 in that he can play anywhere from slot back and safety, to inside or outside linebacker. Hudson makes a lot of his plays in the offensive backfield and that will serve the Redskins’ defense well if he can bring some of that ability to the NFL ranks.
Round 6 (No picks)
Round 7 (216/229)
The Redskins selected safety Kamren Curl with their first pick in the seventh round. I expected them to address defensive back a little earlier, but Curl was a necessary selection as the Skins look to build their secondary by acquiring young defensive backs. Curl will most likely be used on special teams and for depth purposes initially. He will have to blow the coaches away at training camp in order to force his way on the field immediately. The Redskins are currently starting Landon Collins at strong safety and free agent pick up Sean Davis at free safety.
With their final pick, the Skins selected defensive end James Smith-Williams from NC State. Smith-Williams will compete for a roster spot on a team with an already deep defensive line. This selection could possibly be an insurance pick if the Redskins decide to cut Ryan Kerrigan who has one year left on his contract, and as of today will count almost 12 million against the cap. The Redskins just selected Chase Young, and traded up to draft Montez Sweat last year, so Smith-Williams will most likely earn his way on the field via special teams and/or situational circumstances. Smith-Williams has a good motor and uses his hands well to get off blocks. He will have to show an element of dominance to get legitimate repetitions his rookie season with the current depth chart as it stands.
The Redskins also made some undrafted free agent signings to continue to build their camp roster including Thaddeus Moss, son of Hall of Famer Randy Moss. After the Redskins didn’t draft a tight end, it’s good to see that they brought in a player with a tremendous upside to compete at the position and possibly push the rest of the tight ends currently on the roster.
My overall grade for the Redskins 2020 draft is a: B. The Redskins addressed some much-needed areas in this draft. Although I believe the team reached a bit in Round 3 and could have picked a defensive back sooner, I am content with the moves made. As you were….